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How Should Your IT Help Desk Escalate Your Priority Tickets?

How Should Your IT Help Desk Escalate Your Priority Tickets?

When you contact your IT help desk, you want your computer problem resolved right away. And if an issue is too complicated, you want the issue resolved sooner than later. When you’re waiting to hear back from your IT support team, have you ever thought, what is taking so long?

Why can’t they get back to me with a solution? And if it’s been hours or days until you hear from someone, don’t you wonder if you or your users are getting enough IT support and whether your help desk is cutting it?

Today, I wanted to discuss what you should be looking for in your IT help desk’s escalation and why you should have specific expectations of them. But before we delve into your help desk expectations, you should understand your service level agreement (SLA) and why it is important.

Service Level Agreement—Your IT help desk promise

Most likely your IT help desk has a service level agreement (SLA). But what does this mean?

An SLA basically defines what services are included in your contract and what specific timeline your IT support team needs to follow to make sure they are complying with your agreement. Your agreement should delimit what specific problems the help desk can be assigned to resolve. For example, your help desk may solely help you remotely (many of your user issues should be able to be resolved without an onsite visit), but other agreements may include onsite help.

The agreement should identify the length of time your help desk has to return a missed call or to reply to a ticket submitted online. If your agreement guarantees a one-hour response time, you should consistently expect to hear back from your IT support desk within the hour. Response times can drastically vary, especially after hours. Look into whether after hour support is well-defined and explicitly fits your users’ needs (Note: ZogDesk  has 24/7/365 support—not just an on call guy, but someone that is ALWAYS at their desk ready to work on user issues).

Bottom line: the core function of your help desk is to resolve your users’ technology issues to enable them to get back to their work. It is important to recognize how long you can tolerate an issue being unresolved before signing an agreement that won’t fit your needs.

What should an IT help desk do to ensure your tickets are getting the right attention, specifically that your IT support team is following best practices when it comes to escalating your support tickets?

  1. Resolve Issues On The First Call— If your issue is relatively common or routine, you should expect your issue resolved quickly on the first call (If you submit a ticket online, you should anticipate a call as well). A good IT help desk has a well-curated body of knowledge for both technical issues as well as how to handle tickets within your organization (or even with specific VIP users). Their knowledge of your business should enable them to resolve your issues quickly. On average, help desks can resolve 82% of user issues within the first call (ZogDesk resolves over 95%!).
  1. Precisely Documented Issues— When you call in with a problem, you should expect the IT help desk technician to ask questions, document your issue—identifying every symptom—before figuring out a diagnosis. Often times, poorly managed help desks have technicians that like to “shoot from the hip”—they are the one shop maverick solution to get your issue dealt with. The problem is, if they haven’t taken a step back to identify all possible underlying issues, your one shop solution may be entirely off base (and actually may exacerbate your computer headaches!).
  1. Have A Well-Defined Ticket Escalation Path— Understanding where a Level 1 technician should escalate a ticket is often the largest barrier to getting the right help the first time. If your help desk can’t identify an escalation path—specifically addressing your users’ hard to solve issues—then they are likely not using an optimized escalation path. Your IT help desk should have a defined process to move tickets to more experienced technicians after identifying the specific symptoms of an issue when documenting it (see Point 2 above).

Typically escalation should be based on a hierarchical structure, where more seasoned technicians resolve problems that less-experienced technicians haven’t yet encountered. Often hierarchical escalation paths involve having a process in place that identifies the best resource to solve the hard problems. Either your ticket is handed off directly to someone higher up in your IT department or an experienced IT manager advices your help desk technician as to what next steps would look like in resolving the issue.

If your help desk’s rules of escalation are hazy or undefined, technicians may be passing your tickets around like hot potatoes hoping they won’t get burned!

Are you constantly waiting for your IT help desk to resolve your computer issues? Can you even get a technician on the phone to fix your computer issue? Are you sure your tickets are getting enough attention? Contact us TODAY for a FREE help desk health assessment.

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